Dedicated to Improving the Lives of Blind and Visually Impaired People

President’s Day: A Time to Recognize the Nation’s Leaders and Their Eye Health

The national celebration of the President’s Day holiday next week occurs during the monthlong commemoration of Low Vision Awareness Month. This provides a timely opportunity to highlight the fact that eye health, and the possibility of vision and eye problems, can impact anyone, including the nation’s leaders. For example, Woodrow Wilson suffered a retinal hemorrhage that resulted in diminished vision; and Ronald Reagan’s vision difficulties limited his military service, excluding him from serving overseas during World War Two. Jimmy Carter’s childhood experience with overcoming trachoma, a bacterial disease that can cause vision loss, led to the eventual launching of the Carter Center’s Trachoma Control Program, which works to eliminate the disease, “the world’s leading cause of preventable blindness.” Carter’s experience with the disease is recalled in a Scientific American article reporting that Jimmy Carter Fights to Eliminate Eye Disease That Plagued His Childhood. Reagan’s vision challenges are covered on the Reagan Library webpage on the Military Service of Ronald Reagan. For details about Woodrow Wilson’s eye condition, and partial sight restoration, read the National Library of Medicine of the National Institutes of Health article addressing When Disease Strikes Leaders: What Should We Know? These examples help to underscore the importance of early detection and treatment and the value of regular eye care.